Inner Voices and Elizabeth Kostova

January 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Title: The Swan Thieves

Author: Elizabeth Kostova

Publisher: Little, Brown

Genre: Fiction

Length: 561 pages

Buy Work by Kostova

There are writers whose voices fall in step with some inner voice of my own.  They have a seamless and perfect tambour that has no problem intertwining and conversing with the language of my soul.  F.Scott Fitzgerald is one of those writers, Tanya Egan Gibson is one of those writers, John Steinbeck is one of those writers – their sentence structures find a rhythm that beats to my own personal drum.

Elizabeth Kostova is not one those writers.

Her stories are so fascinating.  I have every desire to read everything she’s ever written.  But making that desire a reality is a struggle.  I find myself saying “Just get through this chapter so you can find out what happens next,” both in The Historian and The Swan Thieves.

Therefore, as I’m reading The Swan Thieves, I feel as though I am not the right person to review her books.  Kostova is talented and inspiring: such captivating stories! such a high word count for a debut novel! (The Historian was a little over 241k words) such interesting ideas! But she just doesn’t speak to me.

When I come across books like these I become exceptionally curious.  I’d like to know who she does speak to, what’s the difference in our brains? Is it a geographical dialect issue? Do I not follow her phrasing because my inner voice is either southern, British, or some indistinguishable ‘Yankee’ and she speaksMichigan? I don’t know, I’ve never been toMichigan.  Please read it yourself and come discuss with me, I’d like to find out!


  1. Burgandy Ice said,

    Thx for entering my Giveaway and saying nice things about my blog!! 🙂

    I seriously love your review. I like hearing about authors that are favorites and I haven’t read anything by Kostova. Thx for sharing!!

    It’s cool how you review your daughter’s reaction to kids books. How well I know the Hungry Caterpillar!!!!!

  2. Anakalian Whims said,

    • Anakalian Whims said,

      A Quote from the above linked blog post:

      “So basically, we have an interesting premise that is more or less abandoned for literally hundreds of pages in favor of extended monologues. Not that these monologues are themselves terrible, but they fail to advance the plot of the novel, and they fail to create distinct voices. Marlowe’s generic narration of the novel sounds exactly like Kate’s talking about her husband, which sounds exactly like Mary’s written narrative, which sounds exactly like the third person sequences set in the 19th century. Which is to say, that they all sound exactly like Elizabeth Kostova.

      This could have been easily fixed, of course, by writing the entire book in the third person. Then all the drippy prose about how to paint, or how the light slanted its fingers through the trees, etc etc etc would all have been easy to just accept. Kostova chose not to do this, and the book suffers for it.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: